2nd World Water Forum

PSI statement for annexe to Ministerial statement

The Hague 21 March, 2000


Public Services International, the global confederation of trade unions representing 20,000,000 public service workers worldwide, welcomes the commitment by ministers to water security for all in the 21st century.

The PSI wholeheartedly supports the view that these challenges can only be met by a cooperative, democratic and public partnership of those concerned with achieving universal delivery of the basic human right toprovision of water and sanitation services, together with sustainable management of natural water resources and the ecosystem.

Workers in the water industry, urban and rural, in developed and developing countries, are key stakeholders and partners in this process. This means not only recognizing their rights as workers, including their right to free association in trade unions, but also recognizing their skills, commitment and understanding as invaluable resources in responding to the challenges, both in formulating strategies and in the subsequent monitoring and evaluation. .

The PSI further supports the position that there should be a free and open exchange of information,

exchanges of information and wide-ranging public debate about economic, social and environmental. aspects of water and sanitation services. The public should have the right to all information relating to their water and sanitation services - there is no place in such a vital service for secret agreements.

PSI rejects privatisation of water and sanitation services and believes that these should be owned and managed by democratic and accountable public bodies as close as possible to the communities concerned, after a full and vigorous public debate.

PSI further welcomes the statement that "it cannot be business as usual", and encourages international agencies and governments to resist imposing solutions based on a simplistic ideological preference for the private sector. Communities and public authorities should be encouraged to explore the potential of "public-public partnerships" and twinning arrangements to assist developing countries, and for funding agencies and financial institutions to ensure that public sector solutions are not discriminated against.

PSI pledges itself to work with local authorities, community representatives, professional bodies, NGOs, governments, and international agencies on the basis of a common commitment to this democratic process.